Tenzin Ringpapontsang

Position

Qualifications

  • PhD in History, ANU

Contact details

Tensin was a PhD student within the School of Culture, History and Language at the ANU. The special relationship between the 13th century Tibetan monk ‘Phags Pa Lama (1235-1280) and the Mongol emperor Khubilai Khan (1215-1294) is chronicled in many records of the time. It is a relationship that has had resounding historical, political, cultural, religious and economic implications for Tibet, Mongolia and China.

Largely unknown outside the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism is that in 1271, ‘Phags Pa Lama wrote a letter of personal advice to Khubilai Khan. A close analysis of this letter provides an intimate insight into the special relationship between these two pivotal figures of 13th century Asia. This letter reveals a close personal and spiritual bond which is often overlooked in favour of speculative conjectures based on a political-theoretic paradigm by most contemporary historians. Moreover, examined in conjunction with the existing body of knowledge on this period, this letter not only provides insight into Khubilai Khan but also a new perspective on his reign over history’s largest contiguous land empire.

Thesis topic

Advice to the King: A letter from Phags Pa Lama to Mongol emperor Khubilai Khan

Supervisor

Topic description

The special relationship between the 13th century Tibetan monk ‘Phags Pa Lama (1235-1280) and the Mongol emperor Khubilai Khan (1215-1294) is chronicled in many records of the time. It is a relationship that has had resounding historical, political, cultural, religious and economic implications for Tibet, Mongolia and China.

Largely unknown outside the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism is that in 1271, ‘Phags Pa Lama wrote a letter of personal advice to Khubilai Khan. A close analysis of this letter provides an intimate insight into the special relationship between these two pivotal figures of 13th century Asia. This letter reveals a close personal and spiritual bond which is often overlooked in favour of speculative conjectures based on a political-theoretic paradigm by most contemporary historians. Moreover, examined in conjunction with the existing body of knowledge on this period, this letter not only provides insight into Khubilai Khan but also a new perspective on his reign over history’s largest contiguous land empire.

Updated:  22 February 2016/Responsible Officer:  Director, Mongolia Institute/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team